How Deep Should a Bird Bath Be? – The Right Water Level Depth


Written by

Clinton Atkins



George Dukes

how deep should a bird bath be

How deep should a bird bath be? The water bath for birds should be 1 inch (2.5 cm) to 2 inches (5 cm) deep. In addition, the depth should not exceed half the bird’s height and should go on a slope with the middle part being the deepest.

You can opt for a small or large bird bath bowl only if you follow this guide. Learn more about the water levels of your bird bath and how to set up everything for your feathered friends.

How Deep Should A Bird Bath Be?


The standard is 1 to 2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm) deep, but this could change depending on what kind of birds are in your area. Some go for 1 to 4 inches (2.5 – 10 cm) deep, which is perfect for a wide range of backyard birds.

Many types of wild birds could get attracted to your bird bath. If you notice your yard getting a specific bird species as visitors, you can refer to this table for the suitable depth of the bird bath. Remember, the ideal depth of level of water should not go beyond half the height of the bird.

Common Backyard Birds Height Range
American Robin 8 to 11 inches
Mourning Dove 9 to 13 inches
Northern Cardinal 8.3 to 9.3 inches
House Finch 6 inches
American Goldfinch 4.3 to 5.5 inches
European Starling 8.5 inches
Bluejay 9 to 12 inches
Song Sparrow 5 to 7 inches
Red-Bellied Woodpecker 9 to 10.5 inches
American Crow 16 to 20 inches

How Big Should a Bird Bath Be?


Don’t be intimidated to go for big bird baths. Small bird baths are not really the best way to appeal to the birds. Large bird baths, on the other hand, have a wider bowl and enough room to accommodate several birds at the same time.

But there is a limit to how big you should go depending on your preference and several factors.

  • The bird species and population in your area
  • Your backyard space
  • Your resources at hand

Think about all these since they will be the deciding elements of how big your bird bath should be.

How Do I Know if My Birdbath is Deep Enough?


Many think that deep bowl bird baths are great since they can hold a large volume of water and you don’t have to put in bird bath water as often. However, it should not be overly deep or you risk the birds drowning.

The general rule of thumb is below 3 inches and could vary depending on the birds that frequent your area. You can refer to the table in the previous section to figure out the average depth for your bird bath.

Adjusting Bird Bath Depth


If you realize too late that the depth is too much, you can adjust it to achieve a shallow bird bath. An easy fix you can do is to add large stones to deep areas in the bowl.

A few sticks in between are also a great addition and offer handy perches. Make sure to secure the sticks so they don’t fall over when the birds sit on them.

Where to Place a Bird Bath?


A common question regarding the placement of the bird bath is “Should the bird bath be in the sun or shade? The best place for bird bath is in the shade.

Position your bird bath in the shade, near the trees, or under thick shrubs. This will keep the birds in the bird bath and the water cooler. Besides, the branches can provide a comfortable place for the birds to preen and stay safe from predators.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far should a bird bath be from a bird feeder?

The bird bath placement should be at least 6 to 7 feet away from the feeder or up to 30 feet distance. This much gap is also recommended between birdhouses and feeders.

How long does it take birds to find a bird bath?

Birds normally notice bird baths 2 to 4 weeks after you put them up. If it takes longer than that, you should re-evaluate your bird bath and do the necessary changes.

Why are birds not coming to new bird bath?


It takes time to get birds to use a bird bath but when it’s already a month and it’s still deserted, there could be some problems. It is crucial to determine the issue and address them as soon as you can. Here are some possible reasons why no bird is visiting your bird bath.

  • The water level is too deep
  • The side of the bowl is deep
  • Wrong choice of location
  • The water is filthy
  • The water is freezing
  • No moving water feature

Landscaping around bird baths can also help attract the birds to your yard.

What time of day do birds use bird baths?

Birds use the bird bath fountain continuously throughout the year, no matter the season or weather. As for the time of day, keep an eye on your bird bath during the early mornings and late afternoons. This is the best time to bird watch, according to many experts.

How to keep crows out of bird baths?

Crows are smart and have a reputation for monopolizing bird baths. They will defend it as their territory and ward off other birds that will try to use it.

To prevent this from happening to your bird bath, you can scare off crows by setting up fake crows. Hang them upside down on a tree near the bird bath and you can expect no crow visitors after putting it up.


After learning the answer to how deep should a bird bath be, we hope you can suitably design your bird bath for all the birds in your backyard. Or if you are getting more of a bird species, you can tailor it to their height. This way, they can comfortably drink and bathe, coming back to your home every time they need it.

Attracting birds to bird baths is easy as long as you keep all the information and tips we mentioned in this article. If you know someone who is struggling with their bird baths, share this with them!

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